EarlyHistory of India
Indiais located in South Asia. The name of the country was derived fromthe Indus River. The history of India is inseparable with themythological empire called Bharata, which is attributed to the Indianepic Mahabharata (Kochhar 23). The early history influenced thefuture of the country, especially the historical Bharata referencethat is used as a designation its constitution. The discussion aboutIndia will explore the early history of the country as well as thepeopleanditsgeography from the earliest times.
Theearly historical and religious writings dated as early as 5thCentury indicates that empire Bharata conquered and ruled the wholeof sub-continent of India. This empire is known to have ruled for along period of time in peace and harmony and consequently the landcame to be known as Bharatavarsha (Kochhar 24). The nameBharatavarsha in essence meant a sub-continent of Bharata.Bharatavarsha is one of the most inhabited regions in the planet withan Hamonid activity that dates to over 250,000 years back (Kochhar24).
Hindostanis designated in the country’s northern part of the river whileDeccan is designated to the southern part. During the early times,the paramount power existed in Northern India, which was heavilycharacterized by gangetic plain. This plain laid in the northern partof the jungle clad hills which were the main barriers that separatedHindustan from Deccan regions (Eck 18). Additionally, these barriersare known to consist of Vindhyan ranges as well as the River Nerbuddaor Narmada. This specific river typically falls to the gulf of Combayas shown geographically (Eck 18).
Inthe South of India, the kingdoms that thrived there were known to berich and populous and they were mainly the Dravidian nations (Spear2). When comparing the cultures of these nations to those of thenorth, there were almost similar although they were great rivals. Thenorth was inhabited by the Aryan nations who were typically seensecluded from the rest of the world that was already civilized. Forthis reason, most of their affairs or historical contexts remainedconsequently unknown to the rest of the world.
Thereare specific materials from which Hindu history can be constructed ina pure form. Amongst these are the four Vedas, the laws of Manu, twoepics of the Ramayana and Maha Bharata as well as the eighteenPuranas (Eck 23). However, the most significant of these materialsare the hymns of Rig-Veda, the laws of Manu and the two epics. Thepeople of India have wholly accepted Ramayana and Maha Bharata aspart of their nation’s history. The Vedic hymns as well as the lawsof Manu are typically used to enrich knowledge and understanding ofBrahmanic and Vedic India (Kochhar 33).
Civilizationthat took place in Indus Valley happened in 5000 BCE and itconsequently developed and spread to northern Malwa and lower GaneticValley regions (Smith 2). During this period, the cities that existedwere seen to be larger in size as compared to contemporarysettlements in the rest of the world. In addition, these cities werebuilt and constructed using mud bricks (Eck 41). According to Eck(41), the bricks were kiln-fired and were situated as per thecardinal points.
Onthe other hand, the houses were built and constructed with a special,large courtyard opening situated at the front door. These housescontained a work room or kitchen from where the food was prepared andother rooms that were smaller in size. In this regard, one is able toconfirm the fact that most of family activity happened at the frontof the house and in particular the large courtyard.
Inparticular, the people who were believed to exist during the HarappanCivilization engaged in religious culture (Kochhar 37). Amongst thesereligious cultures was ritual worship and in particular, the worshipof many gods. To confirm these facts, evidences historical statutesof various deities have been discovered in many historicallysignificant sites. For instance Indra, who is known as the god of warand storm as well as Shakti who was the mother goddess, has beendiscovered suggesting the popularity of such religious practice (Eck49). To the northern part of India, the Aryans were believed to havemigrated through Khyber Pass into India and quickly assimilated thethen existing culture (Eck 48).
However,it is important to note that the horse was believed to be introducedin India by the Aryans. In addition, they brought with them newreligious cultures of worshipping new deities in an attempt toinfluence the existing religious believes. Nature worshipping, whichwas commonly known as pantheists was another special form of devotion(Eck 48). According to Eck (48), the Aryans performed worship to thesun and this indicated that perhaps they never had anyanthropomorphic gods.
About1700 to 1500 BCE, the culture of Harappan started declining possiblydue to harsh climatic conditions. One of the most possible climaticconditions was the regular flooding of the Indus River in areas wherethey inhabited (Smith 2). This climatic fact is evidenced by silt ofMohenjo-Daro, which is approximately nine meters or 3o feet as wellas some great historical cities that were abandoned at the sameperiod of time. However, other scholars have argued that themigration of the Aryan to the northern part of India was seen as aninvasion. Such an invasion thus contributed to vast humandisplacement.
Asa result of such vast migrations in India, the Aryans came to heavilyinfluence the culture that existed. As a result, they introduced theIndian’s Vedic period in 1700 to 150 BCE, which was mostlycharacterized by pastoral lifestyle. In addition, the Vedic Periodhad very high regards for religious texts identified as TheVedas,in which the believers were expected to strictly adhere to. Inaddition, the society was affected as it divided into four mainclasses known as theVarmasor the caste system (Kochhar 40).
Atthe top of this caste system was the top priests or scholars who wereknown as the Brahmana (Kochhar 41). The next level of class comprisedof the warriors known as the Kshatriya. The merchants, laborers aswell as the farmers followed next under a category known as theVaishya.
Finally,the lowest class contained the untouchables known as the Dalitsresponsible for handling meat and waste. It is important to note thatthe caste system did not depend on anyone’s occupation rather itwas wholly determined by birth. For this reason, no one in thisculture and system was allowed to change his or her caste for anyreason. In addition, marriage was strictly confined in particularcaste and intermarriage was strictly prohibited. The fundamentalbelieve that lays in the understanding this caste order was the factthat such arrangement and thus system, reflected a sacred human lifeorder that dictated by a Supreme Being or deity (Kochhar 42).
EckL. Diana. India:A Sacred Geography.India. Three Rivers Press. 2013. Print.
KochharRajesh. TheVedic People: Their History and Culture.Michigan. Orient Longman. 2000. Print.
SmithA. Vincent. TheOxford History of India.Retrieved from >https://archive.org/stream/oxfordhistoryofi00smituoft/oxfordhistoryofi00smituoft_djvu.txt.Date Accessed. July 20, 2016.
T.GPercival Spear. India: History.Retrieved from > https://www.britannica.com/place/India/History.Date Accessed. July 20, 2016.